Anil Bhoyrul

Why is it racist to wonder what colour your child’s skin will be?


Maybe I missed something here. Or maybe I am just completely naive. But why is it racist to ponder what the skin colour of a new baby will be?

According to most of the American and British media, post the Harry and Meghan interview, it absolutely is racist. It’s horrendous. Evil. Bigoted. Especially so in the US (a country where barely over 10 per cent of the married population is actually inter-racial). But these are generally the views of people who don’t actually know what they are talking about. Because they are not part of, or in the slightest bit close to, an inter-racial couple.

So first the obvious declaration of interest: I was born in Mauritius. I look Asian. Or brown if you prefer. My wife was born in Slovenia. She is white and blonde.

My kids often point out that within our own family, the five of us are all completely different skin colours

Yes, it is an unusual match. Our respective families are the most open–minded groups of people you could ever meet, however. Never a hint of racism on either side. But have we discussed the skin colours of my kids, since long before they were born? You bet we have, and still do.

Before my son Joe popped out 11 years ago, my late mother enquired endlessly what the different colour options were. She went further than the mystery ‘racist’ royal, suggesting that a darker version of brown would be better, as the kid would be more likely to follow the Hindu religion (that of our side of the family).

My wife’s family — who could not have been more welcoming to the first brown face that ever entered their remote village in eastern Europe — were hoping for a ‘whiter’ result, thinking that made it more likely he would follow Christianity.

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